Chimes at Midnight

Product by:
Seanan McGuire

Reviewed by:
On January 9, 2014
Last modified:January 9, 2014


8496901Title: Chimes at Midnight
Series: October Daye, book 7
Published: 2013 by DAW
Read: September 09 to 10, 2013
Format: ebook
Genre: Urban fantasy

I don’t know why I didn’t write a review, when I read this book because enjoyed it enough to go back and listen to all the earlier books in the series again.

This is my favourite urban fantasy series and has been pretty much since the first book. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that it is centered around the fay, which I find fascinating. But that is of course far from the full explanation. This latest book in the series is one of the best so far. When I went back and reread all of the series I can see just how many threads that are woven through the series from the very first book, that only really turn outs to mean something in this latest book. Like Toby’s addiction to coffee.

Toby becomes more or less human a number of times throughout the series. She is born as a half-breed, a changing but she can change her own blood becoming almost fully human or almost fully fay – though it is risky business to do. And as her humanity fluctuate s does her tolerance for coffee – which somehow makes for some very emotional scenes.

The series is so much about the characters and their relationships and I have to admit that one of my favourite characters is the Sea Witch. She is such a bad ass but also such a softy. And her constant banter with Toby is really funny. There is a lot of wonderful banter in general in these books. I am sorry this review seems to be general about the series, because I can’t seem to recall the specifics of the book right now.

As always the plot is running in a very high gear once it gets going and so is Toby. She is in constant danger so there is never a dull moment. This time she is having a more direct confrontation with the queen, who has hated her for years now. The queen is an extremely dangerous woman in her own right. I don’t know why but I always find politics in feudal fantasy extremely interesting – especially among the fay and the October Daye series does it extremely well.

The thing is that the book is both running at a very high pace, extremely emotional and very funny at time. It is as funny as it is sad. The October Daye novels always hit all my emotional keys, which is why I think they are among the best urban fantasy out there.

I also love the friendships that plays so central a role in the series. When the series starts Toby is very reluctant to have any friends at all but over the series she has let more and more people into her life. Now in book 7 she has a whole band of friends who are willing to help her and have her back. But with friendship there also comes the potential for loose and it ups the stakes when one of those friends is in danger. It is wonderful to read an urban fantasy novel where the protagonist has female friends because that is quite rare, for some crazy reason. The topic of female friendship is an annoyingly under-discussed topic in f&sf. I also really love Toby and Sylvester’s relationship that is both a friendship and the relationship between a feudal lord and his knight, which of course complicate things but also makes room to work with the feeling of loyalty which is also a really under-represented feeling in modern fiction.

A number of the supporting cast are QUILTBAG characters without that being their defining traits. They are treated as people just as everybody else in these books. No matter if people are stone-giants, a pooka or fully human, good or evil they are all treated as people with motivations and full personalities. None of the characters in the October Daye novels are ever just paper cutouts. Even the antagonists’ flunkies tend have good reasons to act the way they do.

I will wrap up with my goodreads review from just after I read the book:

“loved, loved, loved this installment of the series. the series is for without being from – it’s awesome”

The stats

The author: female, white, USA
The protagonist: October “Toby” Daye, female, white, straight, private eye, able-bodied.
Setting: San Francisco, present day

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